Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie at Olney Theatre Center
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The last date listed for The Glass Menagerie was Sunday July 12, 2009 / 1:45pm.
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Amanda Wingfield hails from a genteel southern family. She was once the most popular girl in town with her pick of eligible bachelors…but she chose poorly. Amanda is desperate to make sure that her two adult children do not replicate her mistakes. As she struggles to create a future for her son, an aspiring poet who is rarely home; and her daughter, a cripplingly shy woman who is home too much, she might just lose the family she is desperate to save.
Loneliness and isolation. Dreams and regrets. Hope and love. Tennessee Williams’ classic memory play, The Glass Menagerie, exposes all of these and more in a powerful look at an American family.
Williams’ spare, poetic story based on his own family life etches a striking portrait of four unforgettable characters: the haunted Tom Wingfield; his vivacious, indomitable mother Amanda; his shy sister Laura, who spends hours in the world of her fragile glass animal collection; and the charming Gentleman Caller who just might change all their fortunes.
Written in 1944, The Glass Menagerie was based on reworked material from one of Williams’ short stories, Portrait of a Girl in a Glass, and his screenplay, The Gentleman Caller. Like Eugene O’Neill, he wanted to challenge some of the conventions of naturalistic theater. The Glass Menagerie uses music, screen projections, and lighting effects to create the haunting and dream-like atmosphere appropriate for a memory play.
Olney’s Artistic Director Jim Petosa directs this theater classic in the intimate and appropriate setting of the Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab. This is his first directorial venture at the venue after a year’s hiatus. He recently directed the production at Boston University, where he is Director of the School of Theatre at the university’s College of Fine Arts.
“The Glass Menagerie is the play that launched Tennessee Williams’ career as a perceived American great,” says Petosa. “It still speaks to us in our time today.
“I think this is a play that many people know the title of and are aware that it is a significant play,” he continues. “To come in and actually have an experience of the play, and to find its richness not through its pedigree and not through the how the words exist on the page, but how it actually works on you is thrilling.”
From a directorial perspective, “the challenges are always in mining the depth of the experience and going into the emotional places that the play requires you to go with a sense of fearlessness,” Petosa explains. “Despite that, the play yields itself. As you reward the play, the play rewards you.”
The cast features Paula Langton (Amanda Wingfield) Michael Kaye (Tom Wingfield), Briel Banks plays (Laura Wingfield), and Jeffries Thaiss (gentleman caller).
The creative team includes James Kronzer and Jeremy Foil (Scenic Designers), Nikki Moody (Costume Designer), Daniel Wagner (Lighting Designer), and Matthew Nielson (Sound Engineer).